Youth Programs

A Brief And Wondrous Writing Contest!

This November, Figment is teaming up with The National Writing Project to sponsor the Junot Diaz Writing Contest, judged by Pulitzer prize-winning author Junot Diaz.  Figment is an online writing community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors.  

            Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, stands out for his masterful, compelling command of voice; his writing is instantly recognizable as his own. This unique and impressive control of tone has inspired Figment to sponsor a fiction-writing contest which encourages each writer to develop his or her own distinct voice.

The contest is open to writers over the age of 13 in the United States and submissions are being accepted through November 30th, 2011. Finalists will receive signed copies of Diaz’ books, and the winner will receive a special Oscar Wao Prize Pack You can read the contest rules in full, here.

The theme of this contest is Creating The Narrative Voice, and Figment offers three different prompts to choose from, all geared toward the development of a strong narrative voice:

First Person:
Without naming or describing your narrator, write a story in which you make the narrator’s age, personality, and philosophy/outlook on life evident through his or her voice.

Second Person:
Write a story about an ordinary day in the life of an extraordinary person, such as the president, supermodel, or a homeless boy. Narrate the story entirely in the second person.

Third Person:Write a story in which you describe a person using only attributes generally considered negative (for example a character who is usually late, sloppy, and mean), but through the voice of your narrator, make that character likable.

In addition to selecting the contest winners, Junot Diaz will be writing a post for the Figment blog about how best to develop your tone, as well as answering your questions on the Figment forum. Post your questions for Junot Diaz here!

This contest is a wonderful opportunity for young writers to share their work in a supportive and stimulating forum, and have the chance to learn from an established and beloved author. To read more about the contest and submission guidelines, or to learn more about Figment, visit their website at

Good luck to all contestants!


—Acacia, WITS Intern

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